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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechen Warlord Defies Jail Ruling

GROZNY -- A renegade Chechen guerilla commander who was sentenced by Chechnya's Islamic court for an attempted coup warned the breakaway Russian region's president on Thursday not to try to arrest him.

Salman Raduyev, an influential warlord with an entourage of armed and loyal followers, told reporters any attempt by Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov to detain him would be the "end of Maskhadov's rule."

Maskhadov is seen as a relative moderate by Moscow, although he insists on Chechnya's independence.

Raduyev, who has become a vocal opponent leading calls for Maskhadov to step down, was sentenced to four years in prison by Chechnya's Sharia Court on Wednesday for an uprising in May, but no attempt has been made to arrest him.

Raduyev said the verdict was not valid because neither he nor his accuser - Maskhadov - was at the court.

"I am prepared to sit in prison for four years only if it is in the same cell as Maskhadov," he told reporters gathered at his Grozny headquarters Thursday.